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Following the second World War, Southeast Asia began generally to emerge from colonialism. The purpose of this book is to examine how the Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, and Malaya met the new situation and developed political institutions which they adapted from the West. The institutions of democracy are today being experimented with on a grand scale, in a totally new setting, by peoples who were hitherto unfamiliar with these institutions. Whether they can make representative institutions work is the question under examination here.